It can be quite fun to play armchair GM and speculate why prospect X is the perfect fit for our favorite teams. If only it actually worked like that. The current regime in Detroit has shown what their preferences are in the drafting process. This draft specifically they’re targeting centers and defensemen. They’ve also made it clear they are willing to sacrifice size for skill this year. Sounds exciting, but other intangibles will be involved in who they draft. They heavily value character, so you can kiss Ryan Merkley goodbye.
Detroit is also in search of players who could improve their special teams. The power-play in particular is something they would like to address. A little bit of grit would help too.
Other elements from their past tendencies such as the league they are drafting out of could help form a list of players who meet their criteria. With that in mind, here is my best crack at who could be quite high on their list:
This could be a match made in heaven for Holland and co. Tychoncik is an elite skating defensemen playing in the BCHL. Sounds familiar, right? Well it should, with Dennis Cholowski being an elite skating defensemen out of the BCHL in his draft year.
His defining trait that might stick out to the club is his character. He LOVES TO TALK. Always smiling and loves to be himself, he is without a doubt the draft’s biggest personality. Question is if that is the kind of character they value? Michael Rasmussen was drafted in large part because of his maturity. Givani Smith on the other hand brought more personality.
To get an idea of what he is like, here is an interview he did at the scouting combine:
"The NHL is a huge step, the NCAA is a huge step… It's going to be a lot of fun and I'm going to take it all in." @PentictonVees defenceman Jonny Tychonick excited for the process of development when speaking to #Oilers TV & @Bob_Stauffer at the #NHLCombine. pic.twitter.com/CreDI4VroO
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 2, 2018
Once a highly touted prospect expected to be a top-10 pick, Jake Wise’s journey has had some bumps along the way. A mid-season injury has him slipping on many draft boards, but that hasn’t taken away from his natural talent. The USNTDP center owns a lethal shot, most dangerous on the power-play. He is the kind of home run pick you want to see on day two of the draft. He fits the description Detroit is giving about sacrificing size for skill.
What may also be appealing to Detroit is his work ethic. Known to be a rink rat and hard worker, he is committed to getting better.
“I’ll say this: Whoever takes Jake Wise, wherever they take him, is not going to regret drafting him because with his work ethic and his character he’s going to maximize whatever he has. They’re going to be happy two, three, four years down the line.” Said Scott Monaghan, who recruited Wise to the U.S. program.
Out of all the players on this list, I think Wise is the most likely for Detroit to take. He checks all the boxes.
The ultimate sleeper of this years draft, Der-Arguchinstev (SDA for short) is a creative playmaker expected to go around the third round. Another home-run type pick, Detroit would be getting the skill it covets down the middle. And hey, he’s right-handed!
Playing in Peterborough with Wings draft pick Zach Gallant, Detroit surely got a good look at a player many are unaware of. He is the youngest player in this draft, so there is still so much more room for development, which gives them the opportunity to be patient with him. Despite saying they are moving away from that, it’s still in their nature to take their time with player development.
It wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t include at least one player with size. Samuelsson is a 6’4″ defender from the U.S. program. His offensive abilities are limited, but he is an excellent shutdown D-man. This seems like a classic 2017 draft pick. And if you feel like they have some Michigan bias (they don’t), he will be playing for Western Michigan next year.
He brings leadership as well. He captained the national team this past season. He brings competitiveness and maturity, knowing he still has to get the job done.
“To know that you play for the U.S. National Team and play with the best 22 players in the country in your age and you are looked at as a leader on the team and respected by the guys. It’s definitely humbling. It won’t change my game at all. It’s nice to have but I still need to play my game, whether I’m wearing it or not.” Samuelsson said.
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